By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News
(RANDALL, Ohio) — Another Amazon warehouse worker has died of COVID-19, the company confirmed to ABC News on Friday.
This brings the suspected number of Amazon workers who have died from coronavirus up to eight — based on media reports — though the company has not confirmed how many people have contracted the disease or died from it despite mounting pressure for transparency.
“We are saddened by the loss of an associate who had worked at our site in Randall, OH,” Rachael Lighty, an Amazon spokesperson, told ABC News in a statement. “Her family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting her fellow colleagues.”
The Amazon associate was last at work on April 30, according to the company. Amazon said it is in the process of updating all employees at the site and offering counseling and support.
“Like most global companies, we’ve had employees affected by this, and we’re doing all that we can to protect our employees and take the proper precautions as stated in WHO guidelines,” Lighty said. “We’re continuing to monitor the situation in our facilities, and we are taking proactive measures to protect employees and associates who have been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed or becomes ill.”
Lighty added that the company’s “top concern is ensuring the health and safety of our employees” and that they expect to invest approximately $4 billion from April to June “on COVID-related initiatives to get products to customers and keep employees safe.”
The company said that when a COVID-19 case is confirmed in one of their buildings, they communicate that news to all who work at the site via phone or text not just to those who have come in close contact with the positive case.
Amazon did not respond to an ABC News inquiry over how many employees so far have died from COVID-19, but pressure appears to be building on the company as more deaths are reported in the media.
Earlier this month, a coalition of 13 attorneys general led by Maura Healey of Massachusetts sent a letter to Amazon requesting information on how many workers have been infected and how many have died.
“We have requested but not received information on how many of the Companies’ workers have been infected with COVID-19, and how many have died from it. Please provide a state-by-state breakdown for each Company with this information,” the letter stated.
Earlier in May, Amazon’s head of operations Dave Clark said in an interview with CBS that the total number of workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 “isn’t particularly useful” when asked for a figure.
“The actual … total number of cases isn’t particularly useful because it’s relative to the size of the building and then the overall community infection rate,” Clark told CBS.
“We know,” he added, when pressed for the figure. “I don’t have the number right on me at this moment because it’s not a particularly useful number.”
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